Friday, August 26, 2011
Citizens & Subjects
Throughout the majority of history, the common man has been a subject of the government. A subject is dependent on the ruler of the land for every benefit, for every grace given, for his livelihood, and he is subject to the whims of the ruler, to the dictates and decrees of the ruler. In history, their have been benevolent kings, who ruled their subjects graciously and mercifully, but they ruled their subject, and the subjects had gratitude for their wisdom and grace.
In Ancient Greece, arose the city-states, with citizens, rather than subjects. Citizens had responsibilities, and rights. They were free men, with a responsibility to educate themselves on the responsibilities to learn what it took to take part in their self-governance, in the direction of their lives and the laws their government put upon them. Citizenship was earned, by the residents of the city. It had responsibilities. The Greek City-States were powerful and one colony of it grew to a republic and then an empire: Rome.
Rome's decline began even as its empire grew. Its Caesar was not meant to be an Emperor, but an Emperor he became. Its citizens became its subjects, as the empire grew, even as the citizens of Rome retained their rights, their security, and their benefits. Its citizens forgot and abandoned their responsibilities, because they had those benefits.
Eventually, the citizens, even of Rome, became the subjects of the Caesar, of the Emperor. The powerful concept of citizenship, of the government of the people was lost to history, to the Dark Ages, along with the technological advances the era of citizenship had brought. The era of fealty, of kingdoms, of subjects, returned. Again, kings ruled their subjects, their lords, their serfs, their counts, and barons. Some ruled with grace & mercy, but ruled they did. They were the educated elite. They were entitled by birth, intelligence, and divine intervention to rule the unwashed masses, to whom they granted house, food, health and doctor, peace and war. It was the ruler, the lord, the baron, the king whom secured the borders and ruled his subjects....
And there is more. Go read here.